It's not up there in the celestial ranks with the cathedral of Trondheim, but this is the other great church still left from Norway in the Middle Ages -- and it stands proud and relatively intact. Constructed over a decade beginning in 1125, the cathedral was dedicated to Saint Swithun. It is said that Bishop Reinald sailed here from Winchester, England, with relics of the saint, to dedicate the cathedral. He carried with him what was said to be the arm of Swithun.

A fire in 1272 swept over the Romanesque structure, destroying most of it. During the church's reconstruction, a Gothic chancel was added. In the new structure, twin square towers and a mammoth porch at the west end were also added. With the coming of the Reformation, the Domkirke lost its precious relics of the saint along with its bells and several altars. A major restoration from 1938 to 1942 was carried out that, for the most part, returned the church to a Middle Ages look.

We always time our visit here to coincide with the organ recital at 11:15am on Thursday. In such an atmosphere, you'll feel as if you've gone back 8 centuries.

The length of the Dom is 65m (213 ft.), with the chancel measuring 22m (72 ft.). The original nave is striking in its simplicity, but the other parts are more elaborate, including the large round columns and the square capitals. Some of the capitals are carved with such Norse figures as dragons and griffins. See, in particular, the fine memorial tablets and the famous pulpit, outstanding examples of baroque art in Norway. The pulpit remains a masterpiece of woodcarving, depicting scenes from the Old Testament and crowned by a baldachin honoring the victories of Christ.